Does lack of sleep affect weight loss? We got this question from a frustrated client who was following protocol but not seeing the result she wanted. She was only sleeping a few hours a night. Her slow weight loss and her lack of sleep were both taking their toll. Sleep does affect weight loss, and it may be in ways you never realized.
Lack of Sleep Affects Metabolism
When your sleep cycle is interrupted or irregular, your metabolism doesn’t function properly.
If you are only getting 5 hours of sleep, your metabolism has less time to get to work, and your body doesn’t have regulate hormones that are essential for regulating your appetite. The two hormones we are reffering to are Ghrelin and Leptin.
“Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin,” Breus says. “Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.” –Dr. Michael Breus
It’s recommended that if you are trying to stay healthy and avoid ghrelin and leptin imbalances, that you sleep for at least 7.5 hours each night. This gives your body the times it needs to regulate your hormone levels. When you don’t sleep enough, your ghrelin levels will elevate causing you to have a bigger appetite, and your leptin levels will lower causing you to overeat.
More Effects of Lack of Sleep
When you aren’t sleeping enough, chances are you are going to try and get energy from foods and drinks that are everything but healthy. You might hit Starbucks on your way to work for a caramel latte with a double shot of espresso, or you might grab an energy drink from the gas station. It’s hard to make smart, healthy decisions when you feel low on energy. These choice are going to slow down your weight loss progress.
When you feel tired, you are also less likely to respond well to stressful situations. Instead of dealing with your stress in a positive way, you might default to stress eating.
As you can see, lack of sleep can definitely affect your weight loss. When you don’t sleep enough your hormones are imbalanced, your metabolism isn’t functioning properly, and you are more likely to make poor eating decision. Each night, do your best to get at least 7.5 hours of sleep to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your weight loss journey.